How to get the best out of your taste London experience on a budget

Friday 30 June 2023

Taste of London is quickly becoming my favourite social night of the year. 

I have been going consistently for the last few years and every one has been memorable for one reason or another. Whether its discovering a new dish, chatting to owners about their brands or just hanging out with my friends, there's so much to see, I often don't manage to get around it all.

Whilst it is an amazing event, it can end up becoming quite and expensive evening. That being said, there are lots of way to have an awesome time without spending a penny after entry. Here are my top tips from my past experience.

Be friendly to everyone

This is my biggest Taste tip and has afforded me most of my best Taste experiences. Last year we made friends with a group of guys whilst we were all doing a blind date challenge. Turned out there were all there on hospitality passes with work which meant we were able to hang out in (sneak into) the VIP tent with them. This meant free alcohol and a ready made bunch of new friends  

This time around, we stuck to just our group of girls for the evening but that didn’t mean I spent any more cash. I found it was as simple as just chatting to the staff before they asked if we wanted anything from the menu – most of the time, that they were charging other people for. 

Early ticket deals

Last year I managed to get us free tickets through the apartment complex where I was living at the time but we had such a good time that everyone was keen to buy tickets this time around. We went for the basic entry tickets but thanks to being signed up to the newsletter, I found out that if we bought them on a specific date, they came with a free glass of champagne upon entry; so we did that and it was a great way to kick off the evening. 

Get there early

This was something I learnt the first time around (when I went with Georgia all those years ago.) Most of the sessions only last for 4 hours which sounds like a lot, but when you’re having fun, it fly’s by. We were there for almost the whole session and still didn’t get around any of the food stands. There's so much to see and do so make sure you get there early to make the most of your ticket. 

Enjoy the free samples

Most stands sample their product which meant we left at the end of the night, totally full, having eaten free samples all evening. We all loved The English cheesecake Company samples so much that we stood talking to the guys for a half an hour and they just gave us one sample after another until we all felt sick. 

I ate lots of cheese canapes from another stand but our biggest new discovery was the vanilla iced matcha lattes at Blank Street. They were handing out full sized, free samples and it turned out to be worth it from them because most of us have been out buying them every day since. 

As well as food samples, there is usually have something interactive to get involved with. We spun wheels at Mirabeau and won free wine.

If you're after something particular, just ask

It's literally just as simple as asking. We asked the team at Holy Moly for merch and the guy came back with free sunglasses and stickers. The guys at Bol gave me a weeks supply of free lunch because I said I'd be interested to try them all and I got speaking to someone who turned out to the a GM at STK, who gave me a load of coupons for free cocktails. 

Another amazing night in the bag. I came away on a high from having spoken to so many new and interesting people about brands they were passionate about. So in conclusion, maximizing your Taste London experience while staying within a budget is not only achievable but also incredibly rewarding. 

South West London's best Riverside pubs

Thursday 15 June 2023

One of my favourite things about living in Southwest London is the proximity to the river. For me, it's a 10 minute walk to the waterfront and during the summer, you'll find me there almost every day.

Whether it's a relaxing Saturday morning stroll, an afternoon cycle to Battersea park, or heading to a bar for a drink with my friends, being by the water makes me happy.

I've discovered some real gems along the way. Here are a few of the best riverside pubs I've come across in Southwest London:

The Crown and Bell

Tucked away just about a meter from the Chiswick river bank, this one feels like a secret local spot, a hidden gem that I've only just discovered. They serve food out on the terrace which you can easily reserve in advance to avoid any table-hunting stress. 

If you don't fancy stopping by to eat, the wooden chairs along the river wall out back provide a perfect spot with a peaceful view. The friendly service is definitely a plus!

The White Horse

I've driven past this place in Barnes countless times, but only stopped there last week and it's absolutely lovely. The inside is spacious and inviting, with a cool kitchen island-style bar, while outside, you'll discover multiple nooks and terraces, including an undercover balcony, benches by the river, and a cute deck adorned with fairy lights. 

The Ship

A Southwest London institution. 

The Ship has a lively and youthful atmosphere, especially on a warm, sunny evening.  It's practically hanging over the river, giving you a fantastic view of the sunset so you'll have to get there early if you want a table. More often than not though, the crowd spills out onto the street so there's always somewhere to stand. 

Ship Sundays are legendary and although I've not been, bank holidays there are supposed to be crazy too. I spent my 29th birthday there and it was an absolute blast.

The Waterfront

Just on the other side of the bridge, The Waterfront is like The Ship's more sophisticated sister.
It's situated in one of my favourite stretches of the river - Battersea Reach - and has a big terrace and a much more peaceful ambience. We often head there for a late afternoon riverside spritz

Megan's at the power station

 I love Battersea Power Station but the selection of riverfront restaurants and bars do not do it justice. What it lacks in quality however, it makes up for in location.

Despite my mixed feelings about Megan's, their great happy hour, pretty decor, and picturesque spot overlooking the river usually make it my go-to choice.

Each with its own unique charm and atmosphere, these riverside finds, old and new, have and will become my go to spots. So, next time you're in the mood for a riverside break, I highly recommend checking out these amazing pubs.
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